Capital Mobility and Workers in Asia: Case Studies on Japan, China, Philippines and Thailand


The book provides an analysis that capital mobility has become major and underlying factor of the precarity of workers in Asia. The chapters - case studies on Japan, China, Philippines and Thailand - illustrate that workers’ collective bargaining power has declined which can be seen in the intensification of irregularisation, union busting actions, company closures, and massive dismissal of workers reported across the region. In many cases, this condition has resulted in the weakening of militancy of workers in countries that used to be dynamic actors in the labour rights movement.

Capital mobility which has been intensified by the process of financialisation has brought about greater loss of workers’ control over capital. In fact, not all foreign capital will exit countries that restrict them with regulation. Risk of capital flight does not apply equally to all corporations. In many industries, including the automotive which is the major focus of this book, production requires significant initial investment in dedicated capital equipment, and relocation is very costly and time consuming, therefore it would not be undertaken lightly. Nonetheless, the collusion of state and capital in the undermining of the legal mechanisms protecting the working people is obvious. The efforts to democratically regulate capital have always been impeded by the state and capital collusion for the sake of capital accumulation.


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